Halloween is over, and you know what that means: Thanksgiving and Christmas are almost here!
These last two months of the year are jam-packed with fun holidays, and the festivities begin picking up even now in early November. Still, while many of us are celebrating with delicious turkeys, exciting presents, and comfortable homes filled with family and friends, there are many who do not have these luxuries. It can be easy to forget in the midst of the festivities of the November and December months, but Thanksgiving, and Christmas are just as much about giving to others as they are about celebrating ourselves.
The holiday season is the time when charities need the most help because many of them put on special celebrations and give out presents beyond the regular necessities to those who could not afford them otherwise. It takes a lot of donations and volunteer work to make these programs possible, and even though charitable organizations receive a greater volume of donations at this time of the year, that doesn't make your contribution is any less important!
Even if you don't celebrate these two holidays or something similar, there is still plenty of reason to donate to these charities. Check out our list of the top 5 local Lexington charities to give to this holiday season for yourself!
This great non-profit is based out of Lexington, so you know your money/donations is going to help the local community. For over 10 years, LTR has been serving the Lexington area by helping to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those who are hurting. Through their various programs, they provide food, clothing, counseling, financial and health services, and more to the needy, all the while holding a strong Christian mission. This Fall, LTR's greatest needs for donations include 3-day LexTran bus passes, adult sleeping bags, Spanish NIV Bibles, adult sweatshirts and socks, and space heaters. In addition, there's always plenty of need for food donations and for volunteers, so there are many opportunities to help out.
If your interest is in helping out children in particular, then look no further. The Toy Chest offers an opportunity to sponsor a child this Christmas, buying him or her presents that their parents otherwise might not have been able to afford. What's cool about this is that once you sign up to sponsor a child, you receive their clothing size and toy interests, making it so you can personalize any gifts that you buy. They're also holding a Gift-Wrapping Party on December 10 to help package up all of the donations, which is a super fun event to dedicate some time to! As always, monetary donations and volunteers are needed and happily accepted year-round, so if you don't think you can help with their Christmas program, there are plenty of other opportunities to get involved throughout the year!
Since 1977, The Nest has been providing services to women, children and families in crisis, while working to prevent child abuse and neglect. This includes a childcare program, crisis care, domestic violence counseling, and parent education geared towards those who may not have a safe environment at home. Around Christmastime, the Nest organizes a special donation drive called the Reindeer Express geared towards ensuring that children have presents to open on Christmas morning. Needed donations include games, puzzles, dolls, cars, sports equipment, art supplies, and any other toys suitable for boys and girls ages birth-five years; Winter outerwear like coats, hats, mittens/gloves, and scarves for boys and girls ages birth-five years; and holiday wrapping paper and supplies. In the past, they have reached out to 700 children during the holiday season, and with your help, they can make year just as prolific - if not more so - as in previous years.
Don't have the time to go out of your way to make a charitable donation? You don't have to! Salvation Army always stations their iconic bell-ringing donation collectors at the doors of retail stores, making it perfectly convenient of anyone to give a little bit of money. Even if all you have is some spare change, the Salvation Army will happily take it - everything counts, and no donation is too small. In addition, Salvation Army has dozens of programs and facilities set up throughout Central Kentucky - a food bank, a consignment store, homeless services, a health clinic, and much more, so there's always an opportunity to volunteer or to donate. There's simply too much to list here, so check the links below to see how you can contribute to the Salvation Army.
5. God's Pantry
God's Pantry, in addition to being a traditional food bank where people who cannot otherwise afford it may come to get food, also leads several great programs that seek to feed the hungry. Among these are the Backpack Program, which gives food to school children who sometimes do not get food outside of school meals, Kids' Cafe, which provides snacks to locations where kids often congregate, Sharing Thanksgiving, which provides a Thanksgiving Feast for Volunteering at these special programs can be a rewarding and humbling experience, but it's equally important and just as fun to volunteer at the warehouse during regular hours! Get together a group of friends or family, a club, a church group, a business or go by yourself and come help out! As for donations, God's Pantry is always happy to take donations of unopened, nonperishable food items at their Lexington warehouse. They also encourage you to organize a food drive at your church, school, or business - simply click the link below for instructions.